Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Tom Hanks, Michael Jordan, and Bruce Springsteen are all getting Presidential Medals of Freedom

(Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

The Presidential Medal Of Freedom is the highest award the U.S. government gives to civilians. It’s graced the necks of Supreme Court justices, foreign heads of state, and artists ranging from Tennessee Williams to Lucille Ball. This year, President Barack Obama has named 21 recipients for the prize, in what will be his last chance to hand them out before leaving office two months from now.

Obama’s 2016 list has the normal smattering of scientists and educators, but there’s also a pretty heavy focus on figures from the entertainment world. Diana Ross is on the list, for instance, as are Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and human happiness factories Tom Hanks and Ellen DeGeneres. Bruce Springsteen and Lorne Michaels are also being honored, the former for his contributions to music, and the latter, presumably, for his work in the field of distant, often infuriating inscrutability.


You can see the full list of winners—which also include Robert DeNiro, Cicely Tyson, baseball commentator Vin Scully, architect Frank Gehry, and Bill and Melinda Gates—over at Deadline.

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